File this under better late than never and just in time for tomorrow’s all new Supernatural episode, Meta Fiction!
The title: Mothers of the 50s and 60s took valium to ‘help’ them cope with the stresses of life. Josey and Henry are returning characters whose time period is the late 50s. But, there were a couple of mothers little helpers in this episode: Julia Wilkenson, who ended up helping, albeit unwillingly, her mother superior and thus Abaddon, and Josey herself, who willingly takes Abaddon to save Henry.
It’s also the title of a Rolling Stones song, one line of which is ‘Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag’ which brings us to the opening scene.
A formerly mild-mannered kindergarten teacher comes home and when asked about dinner by her husband, she snaps. How cathartic for us women who’ve had that same snarky ‘again’ response thrown up at us. No really, guys. You don’t want meatloaf again? For future reference I’ll just direct all complainers to this opening. Thank you, Supernatural. Ha!
Anyway, teacher lady turns her husbands head to meatloaf with potatoes and broccoli. Obviously, something is really wrong with this gal.
Moving on. MOL bunker with Dean, who is diligently combing through MOL papers looking for information on Abaddon. Sam calls this behavior obsessed, but I don’t think he’s really talking about Dean’s dedication here, but the whole tone and mood Dean has been walking around with. Sam softens a touch, but it doesn’t do any good. Dean is closed off and not budging off the one-track mindset. He lets Sam go off on a case – alone. Something is oh so very wrong here too.
And the moment his brother is out of sight, not even out the door, Dean grabs his own form of medication, an even larger bottle of booze than he usually drinks, and there’s something about the way he flicks off the lid that is so…angry. Also of note: Dean is not sleeping. He’s drinking A LOT, and yet, not sleeping. Yike.
Sam goes to investigate why a previously normal woman would make mash out of her husband and arrives to find her hung in her jail sell. RIP sweet kindergarten teacher. (I refer you to Supernatural Rule #1) Sam checks in with Dean, who seems uncharacteristically uninterested in talking to Sam. He’s abrupt. He doesn’t talk long. He all but hangs up on him. He’s also consumed the entire bottle of whiskey and isn’t even remotely intoxicated. Yeah, sure, Dean’s got a pretty high tolerance, but the WHOLE bottle? With little effect? What is happening here?
Sam’s concern is evident and so nice to see. But at the same time, it really feels like events are, once again, going to allow, or force, the Winchesters to avoid dealing with their problems. As much as I want to see the brothers back together, I definitely want to see that moment when understanding between them is reached. Maybe Sam seeing his brother going down this terrible road with the Mark of Cain will help him reach that understanding and he’ll be able to reconcile with Dean, but will it happen in time? There aren’t that many episodes left to get stuff sorted out. Of course there’s going to be a cliffhanger ending.
The Mark of Cain is having one hell of an effect. Dean’s hand starts shaking as he thinks about it. Looks like he’s going through withdrawals to me. He almost calls Crowley, though we don’t know that until a couple of scenes later. At first, I thought maybe he was calling Sam back and decided against it. Second watch through, I was happy he changed his mind about talking to Crowley. They have a lot of history, these two, and not any of it is good. Each and every time the boys have worked with Crowley, despite their best intentions, the King of Hell finds a way to screw them. Remember, he has plans and schemes out the jacksie. The more I think about it, and the more I go back and watch previous seasons, the more out of character it feels for Dean to be working with him so closely. Season 6, Dean was so angry with Cas for working with Crowley it nearly destroyed their relationship. Crowley took Lisa and Ben, which led to Dean’s decision to have their memories erased so they would not remember him. It’s sometimes easy to forget what an evil SOB he is, so it’s a good idea to remember Crowley’s past interactions with these guys when watching what he’s doing with them now.
Thanks to Jules over at Superwiki (the best fan run Supernatural site on the web) who tweeted about a small detail that I completely missed in my first several watches of this episode. To wit: Sam goes to a town called Milton, Illinois. When Dean doesn’t call Crowley, he abruptly picks up his coat and leaves the bunker…for a bar, which we later find out is called Milton’s. I don’t believe in coincidences. Not with this show. So I’m going to proceed as if Dean is right there in the same town. Maybe someone can get Show to tell us for sure. (You can check out the Superwiki entry for Mother’s Little Helper here: Superwiki: Mother’s Little Helper )
Sam look-alike boy, Billy, who’s walking someplace after getting into a ‘fight with his mother’ gets jumped by Mr. Ritchie in the creepy church van. A light flashes from within, along with a few screams. Billy later shows up at the same restaurant where Sam is getting some dinner, and the kid goes ballistic on the waitress.
Sam keeps her from ending up dead, sticking up for the working girl (who seemed pretty motherly to me) and later finds out from Billy that he’s ‘clear’ about everything. Sam starts to see the pattern. He starts to recognize what’s going on, and to be certain he’s right, to talk it out, he calls Dean – again.
Dean’s in that aforementioned bar and even though Sam tells him he could use his help, Dean refuses, and lies about why he couldn’t. My heart broke a little – okay, a lot, when Dean told Sam he was closing in on Abaddon with his research and he couldn’t drop the ball on it. But then, when I think that he was in the same town as Sam, but keeping his distance, that puts a whole different meaning to it. Maybe he’s staying away from Sam to keep him from discovering his addiction to the blade or maybe he’s staying away because he’s afraid of the whole Cain and Abel story. Future episodes will tell.
Following the lies to Sam, Crowley appears right on cue. It’s tricky to figure out exactly what the King of Hell is up to here, how much his human blood addiction is affecting him (is it?) or if it’s all an act to get in good with the Winchesters, get them to drop their guard and then get them in the end. I’m going to go with he’s out to get them, but it’ll be a delightful twist if it turns out otherwise. Regarless – he’s the devil we know.
Back to Sam who meets Julia Wilkenson, who knows he’s one of the Men of Letters. She was around back in the day and recognizes what is happening in town. She was a novice nun and witnessed Abaddon taking Josie. And we get an awesome flashback to Josie Sands with Henry Winchester, circa 1958.
Julia is tasked with helping them get to the bottom of the unusual behavior and death of one of the nuns. We also learn that John’s mother was Millie Winchester. Thank you for that Show. Now I want to know what happened to her. We discover too that Josie doesn’t have a family. Her later sacrifice, talking Abaddon out of taking Henry, I believe, was done for family – not her own, but for Henry’s. Did she know the Winchesters are Legacies? (What exactly is a Legacy, anyway?) It was a selfless act and one full of irony, considering what happens later. But if you think what could have happened if a demon, a knight of hell, had taken a Winchester? Gives me the shivers.
The big deal: Abaddon has been collecting souls, and while there aren’t that many containers visible, there have to be quite a lot of them. There are factories spread throughout the country. Have her minions been doing this since 1958? That’s going to be a lot of demons and a lot of soulless people walking around.
Death told us a while ago that ‘it’s all about the souls’. You can read a fascinating theory on what that might mean here from ‘Nightsky’… Supernatural Threads – about Souls
Also, Sam is fully capable of getting himself out of trouble when he’s on his own. It’s probably important for him to have this reaffirmed, since he’s a Winchester who feels he can’t do anything right. He showed off some Winchester smarts by having an exorcism recorded on his phone. He saved a lot of souls from a terrible fate, and it was incredible to watch.
(Photo credit: supernaturalfansonline.com – Lara)
Kudos once again to the special effects team! They deserve all the awards!
Sam shares the victory with Julia, the novice nun who didn’t do anything or tell anyone what she saw until she talked to Sam. The regret she’s carried her whole life is palpable. It was a beautiful moment of redemption for her and for Sam too.
Dean racking the pool balls with his elbow was honestly one of the coolest moments in all of Supernatural. Dean Winchester cool. Crowley wants to know how he felt about using the First Blade. Crowley is after Dean to convince him to embrace the ‘gift’ of the MOC. Dean’s trying to hold onto who his is – a hunter, who only kills for a reason, one who is nothing like Cain. Has he already stepped across that line? The killing of the ‘Thin Man’ was pretty brutal. Is Dean trying to convince himself that all is still well here and he’s got this under control, when in fact, he really doesn’t?
And by the way – Cas remembers Cain and Abel (S6-The Man Who Would Be King)
Playing in the background – You’re no good. There are no coincidences. Nope.
Crowley proclaims Dean ready at the end of this episode. Dean’s been ready to kill Abaddon so somehow, I don’t think Crowley is talking about that.
Dean gets back home ahead of Sam, back at the table covered in folders and papers. Sam takes up a big stack of those folders and as he sits down, he tells Dean that he was right about finding Abaddon as fast as possible. She’s harvesting souls to create an army. The hollowness in his voice cut right through me.
Supernatural is back TOMORROW with a new episode, and without any more hellatus breaks, we’re pounding down the road to the season finale. I’m currently rewatching the season looking for clues and the trail of breadcrumbs this Show likes to drop here and there, but so far the end game is unclear. This is about the time they kick it into high gear though. The road ahead will be anything but smooth.
Oh, and the ShowerHellatus is almost over!
(All photos courtesy of CW)